Saint Thomas Health and UTHSC Expand Joint Residency Training Program in Nashville, Middle Tennessee

Nearly 100 Residents Will Be Trained Every Year, First Phase Starts in 2013.

Saint Thomas Health (STHe), middle Tennessee’s largest health care system, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) are expanding their partnership in Middle Tennessee.  This partnership will be dedicated to training the state’s future physicians.  Starting in 2013, the partners will begin to phase in more medical residents for training.  This training will take place at three STHe hospitals – Baptist Hospital, Saint Thomas Hospital and Middle Tennessee Medical Center.  By 2017, when the STHe-UTHSC residency training program is fully developed, Middle Tennessee physicians who are members of the UTHSC clinical faculty will train nearly 100 medical residents every year in varied specialties.  Initially, 225 new jobs will be created with an additional 125 in subsequent years.

Baptist Hospital has been a partner with UTHSC since 1981, and has trained more than 140 medical residents specializing in internal medicine.  This excellent program has produced many highly trained physicians that have remained in the Middle Tennessee area.  “The expansion of this residency training program is a significant step forward in our joint efforts to prepare a greater number of physicians with dynamic clinical experiences,” said David M. Stern, MD, Executive Dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, who supervises all three UTHSC medical school campuses and oversees clinical affairs statewide.  “Learning from practicing physicians who are exceptional faculty in the environment of a complex health system will help prepare residents to manage the rigors of today’s integrated system of care.”

“Health care continues to change rapidly and it is important to respond to the evolving needs of our patients and physicians,” said Dr. Mike Schatzlein, President and CEO of Saint Thomas Health.  “This initiative will allow Saint Thomas Health and the UT Health Science Center to collaborate in positively impacting the delivery of care throughout the region.  Together, we will focus on expanding access to needed services to our patients and preparing the physicians for the future of health care. ”

“Serving the people of Tennessee with the highest quality clinical care is one of the cornerstones of the UTHSC mission,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD.  “By significantly expanding the residency training program with Saint Thomas Health, we reaffirm the shared commitment of our organizations — a commitment to train and develop physicians equipped with both superior clinical skills and a caring, compassionate, holistic view of those they serve within our communities.”

After medical students have earned their MD degrees, they must successfully complete residency training under the close supervision of fully licensed physicians, usually at a hospital or clinic.  As the state’s only public academic health science center, UTHSC is the largest of the four medical colleges in Tennessee, enrolling 165 students per class every year.  In addition, statewide more than 1,000 medical residents and fellows receive training each year through 84 UTHSC programs certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), our nation will experience a shortage of 62,900 doctors by 2015.  Along with this prediction, 24 percent of Tennessee physicians are over the age of 60.  Offering an expanded residency program may help lessen the impact of the physician shortage on health care accessibility in Tennessee.

It is estimated that 65 percent of medical students and residents live, work and practice in the areas where they are trained.  This indicator, combined with the intellectually stimulating, mission-focused and educationally enriching environment provided by STHe and UTHSC will result in a strong and substantial future for health care in Tennessee.

The proficiency of UTHSC clinical faculty in the research arena is another important element of this expanded partnership.  Over the past six years, UTHSC funding for research and sponsored projects has averaged almost $100 million annually.  Through the STHe-UTHSC residency training program, faculty and residents will undertake a research initiative in comparative effectiveness of varying modalities of treatment, as well as research in outcomes investigations.  A component of this research is termed translational research (T2), whereby clinical practices that have been proven through clinical trials are moved into community practice.

About Saint Thomas Health

Saint Thomas Health, the market-share leader in Middle Tennessee, is a faith-based ministry with more than 6,500 associates.  Saint Thomas Health’s regional health system consists of five hospitals – Baptist Hospital, Saint Thomas Hospital and The Center for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro and Hickman Community Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures in diagnostics, cardiac services and ambulatory surgery as well as medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities.  Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States.  For more information, visit www.sths.com.